SEVENTEEN ANGELS (track #7) was a song completed in the shadow of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Given we are on the cusp of this terrible event’s third anniversary, I though I should post about it here.
It is a song of crisis and epiphany and is structured into two distinct parts. The “crisis” is one of faith and belief in one’s God. The “epiphany” is just that. An event which resolves and restores one’s faith.
I had this song completed mostly before the events of February 14, 2018. The original title was “Suddenly Angels” which appears in the “epiphany” section. But, after seventeen children were killed at a high school 5 miles from my house, the substitution was natural. And cathartic.
If all I had to do was pray, I’d probably do it every day…
That line was written many years ago and speaks to the bitterness I feel when people send “thoughts and prayers”. Really? That’s your answer? The fable about the flood and the three boats comes to mind. But I felt it was important to offset this bitterness with a real feeling of spiritual resolution, i f only to stand firm by the idea that there is always hope.
Musically, this is a song that started with a sound. The main rhythmic symth pad that runs throughout the main part of the song was its musical spine. I let its own rhythm carry the first part of the song before introducing acoustic guitar, percussion, bass guitar, etc. Given the religious / spiritual nature of the piece, organ had to be there as well. The “epiphany” section required a different sound design, more prominent organ and some angelic vocals.
That’s where Daphna Rose comes in. Daphna was kind enough to create a wonderful part which engineer Philip Bithell sculpted a bit in post to create something which to me is reminiscent of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. It really brings the “epiphany” part together.
There is no way to possibly imagine the pain the Stoneman Douglas shooting brought to the families of the victims. Best I can do as an artist is imagine it and draw from the peripheral pain I feel as a member of the surrounding community. This is my contribution, my attempt to process. It’s all I can do.